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ARZ003>007-012>016-021>025-030>034-037>047-052>057-062>069-121200-

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LITTLE ROCK AR
650 AM CDT WED JUL 11 2012

...SOME DROUGHTS...DRY PERIODS AND HEAT WAVES IN ARKANSAS...A
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE...

THE RECENT DROUGHT AND LATE JUNE/EARLY JULY HEAT WAVE...WHILE
CONSIDERED EXTREME EVENTS...HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES
OVER THE COURSE OF ARKANSAS WEATHER HISTORY...DATING BACK TO 1819.
PROLONGED HEAT WAVES AND DROUGHTS HAVE PRODUCED SIGNIFICANT
AGRICULTURAL AND ECONOMIC DAMAGE AT VARIOUS TIMES.

BELOW IS A DISCUSSION OF SOME...BUT NOT ALL OF THESE EVENTS THAT
HAVE OCCURRED OVER THE LAST NEARLY TWO CENTURIES.

NOVEMBER 1823...
DUE TO EXCESSIVELY DRY WEATHER...EXTENSIVE FIRES AROUND CENTRAL
ARKANSAS DURING THE MONTH KEPT CONDITIONS SMOKY IN THE LITTLE ROCK
AREA...AT TIMES ENOUGH TO OBSCURE THE SUN. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN
WEEKS...RAIN FELL ON THE 24TH AND FINALLY EXTINGUISHED THE FIRES AND
CLEARED THE AIR.

AUGUST 1825...
THERE WAS AN 8-10 DAY PERIOD OF VERY HOT WEATHER DURING A SEVERE
DROUGHT. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF ILLNESSES AND DEATHS FROM THE HEAT.
MANY CROPS THAT WERE PLANTED LATE WERE DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. THE
COTTON CROP WAS SEVERELY INJURED.

SUMMER 1828...
THE SUMMER WAS HOT AND DRY. A DROUGHT DAMAGED CROPS CONSIDERABLY...
AND THERE WAS VERY LITTLE RAIN TO SPEAK OF UNTIL LATE OCTOBER.

OCTOBER 1846...
DURING THE LATTER PORTION OF THE MONTH...A PROLONGED PERIOD OF DRY
WEATHER LED TO WIDESPREAD FOREST FIRES ACROSS THE STATE.

SEPTEMBER 1850...
NO RAIN FELL AT LITTLE ROCK FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH. DURING THE WEEK
OF THE 20TH THROUGH THE 27TH...THE TEMPERATURE REACHED 90 DEGREES
EVERY DAY.

MAY-AUGUST 1851...
WHILE RAINFALL WAS ABUNDANT IN NORTHERN ARKANSAS...THE SOUTHERN
PORTION EXPERIENCED A DROUGHT WHICH DAMAGED CROPS CONSIDERABLY.

SUMMER-FALL 1856
A DROUGHT DAMAGED CROPS DURING THE SUMMER...AND A PROLONGED PERIOD
OF HOT WEATHER SET IN DURING SEPTEMBER. AT LITTLE ROCK...THE
TEMPERATURE REACHED 102 DEGREES ON SEPTEMBER 8TH. ON OCTOBER 2ND...
THE TEMPERATURE AT LITTLE ROCK PEAKED AT 98 DEGREES. THE DROUGHT
LESSENED BY LATE FALL AS HEAVY RAINS SET IN. TO ADD INSULT TO
INJURY...THE HEAVY RAINS DID EVEN FURTHER DAMAGE TO CROPS.

OCTOBER 1868
ABSOLUTELY NO RAIN FELL AT LITTLE ROCK FROM OCTOBER 1ST THROUGH THE
28TH. ONLY 0.01 INCHES FELL FROM OCTOBER 1ST THROUGH NOVEMBER
9TH...ALL ON OCTOBER 29TH.

SUMMER AND EARLY FALL 1874
DROUGHT AND HOT WEATHER HIT THE STATE...ESPECIALLY IN AUGUST. THIS
CAUSED CROP FAILURE AND MUCH SUFFERING TO LIVESTOCK ACROSS THE
STATE. AT HAMPTON...NO RAIN FELL FOR AT LEAST 75 DAYS. LITTLE ROCK
HAD A STRETCH OF 19 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITH NO MEASURABLE RAINFALL
FROM SEPTEMBER 26TH THROUGH OCTOBER 14TH. THE HEAT PEAKED AROUND
MID-AUGUST WITH A HIGH OF 105 AT LITTLE ROCK ON AUGUST 9TH AND 12TH.

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1876
DRY CONDITIONS DURING THE LAST WEEK OF NOVEMBER AND THE FIRST
COUPLE OF WEEKS OF DECEMBER LED TO WIDESPREAD FOREST FIRES NEAR
LITTLE ROCK AND ARGENTA.

NOVEMBER 1887
WEEKS OF DROUGHT CULMINATED IN MANY FOREST FIRES DURING THE MONTH...
WITH SMOKY AND HAZY CONDITIONS IN ALL PORTIONS OF THE STATE.

JULY AND AUGUST 1896
DURING THIS PERIOD...DROUGHT AND HOT WEATHER DID GREAT DAMAGE TO
COTTON AND CORN. THE CORN CROP WAS ALMOST A TOTAL FAILURE IN THE
HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF THE NORTH AND WEST...AND WAS POOR IN THE
REMAINDER OF THE STATE. THERE WAS LITTLE APPRECIABLE RAINFALL FROM
MID-JULY THROUGH MID-AUGUST. HAY WAS IN SHORT SUPPLY...WITH PASTURES
DRYING UP...AND STOCK WATER VERY SCARCE.

THIS WAS POSSIBLY THE MOST SEVERE DROUGHT IN THE STATE AT THE TIME
SINCE 1874. THE HOTTEST TIME PERIOD WAS DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF
AUGUST...WITH MALVERN REACHING 112 DEGREES ON THE 6TH...PRESCOTT 111
ON THE 2ND AND WIGGS REACHING 110 ON THE 1ST.

SUMMER 1934
100-DEGREE READINGS WERE SEEN IN MUCH OF THE STATE ALL THREE MONTHS.
RAINFALL WAS MOSTLY BELOW NORMAL...ESPECIALLY IN JULY. THE FIRST
PEAK OF THE HEAT WAVE WAS AROUND MID TO LATE JULY. HARRISON REACHED
112 ON THE 18TH...WITH 110 AT HOT SPRINGS ON THE 23RD...AND 108 AT
HARRISON AND MOUNT IDA ON THE 26TH.

THE HEAT WAVE HAD A SECOND PEAK FROM LATE JULY INTO THE MIDDLE OF
AUGUST. AUGUST 8TH AND 9TH WERE THE HOTTEST DAYS...WITH 116 AT LEAD
HILL...114 AT CALICO ROCK AND MOUNTAIN HOME...113 AT SUBIACO...AND
112 AT HARRISON. TEMPERATURES MOSTLY PEAKED AT OR ABOVE 110 DEGREES
IN THE NORTHWEST.

FROM JUNE 20TH THROUGH AUGUST 12TH...OZARK SAW 54 CONSECUTIVE DAYS
OF 100 DEGREES OR MORE...WHICH IS THE APPARENT STATE RECORD.

AUGUST 1935
BETWEEN THE 7TH AND THE 11TH...HOT SPRINGS HAD FIVE CONSECUTIVE DAYS
OF 110 DEGREES OR MORE. ON THE 10TH...THE TEMPERATURE ROSE TO 113.

SUMMER 1936
A SUMMER-LONG PERIOD OF BELOW NORMAL RAINFALL RESULTED IN HOT
TEMPERATURES FROM MID-JUNE THROUGH LATE AUGUST. ON JUNE 20TH...MOST
AREAS WERE ABOVE 100 DEGREES...WITH CORNING REACHING 113 (THE STATE
RECORD FOR JUNE)...HOT SPRINGS AT 112...AND LITTLE ROCK AT 105.

THE SECOND PEAK OF THE HEAT WAVE WAS ON JULY 18...WITH HIGHS OF 114
AT BOONEVILLE AND GRAVETTE...113 AT SUBIACO...112 AT HARRISON AND
LUTHERVILLE...AND MOST OTHER AREAS BETWEEN 105 AND 111.

THE THIRD AND MOST SEVERE PEAK WAS FROM AROUND AUGUST 8TH THROUGH
THE 23RD. MOST STATIONS SAW CONSECUTIVE DAYS WITH HIGH TEMPERATURES
AT OR ABOVE 105 DURING THIS TIME. THE HOTTEST DAYS WERE THE 9TH AND
10TH. ON THE 9TH...BOONEVILLE AND OZARK RECORDED HIGHS OF 115...WITH
A FEW OTHER PLACES BETWEEN 112 AND 114. ON THE 10TH...OZARK PEAKED
AT 120 WHICH IS THE ALL-TIME STATE RECORD FOR ARKANSAS. THAT SAME
DAY... BOONEVILLE REACHED 118...TEXARKANA 117...FORT SMITH 113...AND
LITTLE ROCK 110.  MANY STATIONS SAW WHAT WAS THEN THEIR ALL-TIME
RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURES.

AUGUST WAS ALSO THE DRIEST MONTH...WITH NO RAIN FALLING AT
GILBERT...MONTICELLO...AND SEVERAL OTHER PLACES. AT MOST LOCATIONS
THAT WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO RECEIVE RAINFALL DURING THE MONTH...ONLY A
FEW HUNDREDTHS TO A COUPLE OF TENTHS FELL.

THE DROUGHT OF 1953 AND DRY SPELL AT WILSON
A STATEWIDE DROUGHT DURING THE SUMMER AND FALL OF 1953 RESULTED IN
100 DEGREE WEATHER THROUGH THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER AND EVEN INTO
EARLY OCTOBER IN SOME AREAS. WILSON IN MISSISSIPPI COUNTY WENT 101
DAYS...FROM JULY 18 THROUGH OCTOBER 26...WITHOUT MEASURABLE RAINFALL
WHICH IS THE APPARENT LONGEST DRY SPELL IN THE STATE

SUMMER 1954
A SUMMER-LONG HEAT WAVE GRIPPED ARKANSAS. THE HEAT CAUSED ONE OF THE
MOST SEVERE DROUGHTS ON RECORD. 74 OF THE 75 COUNTIES APPLIED FOR
DROUGHT RELIEF DUE TO SEVERE AGRICULTURAL LOSSES.

FOREST FIRES DESTROYED THOUSANDS OF ACRES OF TIMBERLAND. HIGH
TEMPERATURES...LACK OF MOISTURE...AND LOW HUMIDITY CAUSED FORESTS TO
BE DESCRIBED BY THE ARKANSAS FORESTRY COMMISSION AS IN THE MOST
EXPLOSIVE CONDITION IN 20 YEARS. MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLIES IN A
NUMBER OF CITIES WERE DWINDLING DANGEROUSLY.

IN JUNE...SEARCY REACHED 107 ON THE 27TH...AND CONWAY FOLLOWED SUIT
ON THE 28TH. DURING THE FINAL WEEK OF THE MONTH...HIGH TEMPERATURES
AT MOST LOCATIONS AVERAGED NEAR OR ABOVE 100 DEGREES.

IN JULY...THE HOTTEST TEMPERATURES AT ALL STATIONS WERE AT OR ABOVE
103 DEGREES. ABOUT HALF OF ALL STATIONS REPORTING AT THE TIME
RECORDED MONTHLY HIGHS BETWEEN 110 AND 116. OZARK TIED THE STATE
MONTHLY RECORD OF 116 ON JULY 13TH.

JULY 13-18 WAS THE FIRST PEAK OF THE THREE MONTH HEAT WAVE. HIGHS
REACHED 116 AT OZARK AND 111 AT FORT SMITH ON THE 13TH...113 AT
CONWAY AND MOUNTAIN HOME ON THE 15TH...AND 114 AT LEAD HILL ON THE
18TH. IN AUGUST...EXCEPT FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND...HIGHS OF 100 DEGREES
OR HIGHER WERE REPORTED AT MOST STATIONS EACH DAY. AUGUST 3RD-19TH
WAS THE SECOND PEAK OF THE HEAT WAVE. THERE WERE WIDESPREAD 100
DEGREE TEMPERATURES THROUGH THE PERIOD. LITTLE ROCK HAD 10
CONSECUTIVE 100 DEGREE DAYS (10TH THROUGH 19TH) AND 16 OUT OF 17.
CONWAY HIT 111 ON THE 16TH.

A GENERAL STATEWIDE RAINFALL AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER BROUGHT THE
HEAT WAVE TO AN END.

OCTOBER 11-15 1963
PROLONGED DRY CONDITIONS SINCE MID-SUMMER...AND A PERIOD OF
WIDESPREAD HIGHS IN THE 90S CAUSED MANY FOREST FIRES THROUGHOUT THE
STATE.

SUMMER 1980
A HEAT WAVE COVERED ARKANSAS FROM JUNE 22 THROUGH SEPTEMBER
17...WITH AN ACCOMPANYING DROUGHT. IT PRODUCED THE HOTTEST JULY ON
RECORD IN LITTLE ROCK. THERE WAS A RECORD 15 CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF 100
DEGREE WEATHER...WHICH INCLUDED EIGHT CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF 105
DEGREES OR HIGHER. THERE WERE 47 DAYS OF 100 DEGREE WEATHER AND 104
DAYS OF 90 DEGREE WEATHER IN LITTLE ROCK THIS TIME.

OCTOBER 2005
A PROLONGED DROUGHT RESULTED IN NO RAINFALL AT 58 REPORTING STATIONS
THROUGHOUT THE STATE...AND THE 2ND DRIEST OCTOBER STATEWIDE WITH AN
AVERAGE OF 0.14 INCHES OF RAINFALL.

LATE SUMMER HEAT WAVE AND DROUGHT OF 2000
A DRY PERIOD BEGAN AT THE BEGINNING OF JULY AND CONTINUED THROUGH
OCTOBER IN MOST OF THE STATE. THIS WAS PART OF A LONG-TERM DROUGHT
THAT BEGAN IN THE SPRING OF 1998. A HEAT WAVE SET IN BY MID-AUGUST
WITH WIDESPREAD 100-DEGREE TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE STATE THROUGH
EARLY SEPTEMBER. LITTLE ROCK HAD ONE OF ITS HOTTEST MONTHS ON RECORD
IN AUGUST. THERE WERE 11 CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF 100 DEGREES FROM AUGUST
25 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 4 AND REACHED THEIR THIRD HOTTEST TEMPERATURE
ON RECORD WITH 109 DEGREES ON AUGUST 30. MANY RECORDS FOR HEAT FOR
SO LATE IN THE SEASON WERE BROKEN.

JUNE-AUGUST 2010
THIS WAS AN EXTREMELY WARM SUMMERTIME PERIOD...AND ONE OF THE
WARMEST ON RECORD FOR ARKANSAS.

IN JUNE...100 DEGREE TEMPERATURES WERE RECORDED AS EARLY AS JUNE
15TH IN PORTIONS OF EASTERN ARKANSAS. DURING THE WARMEST PART OF
JUNE...WHICH TENDED TO BE FROM THE 15TH-20TH...NIGHTTIME LOW
TEMPERATURES WERE AS HIGH AS 75-80 DEGREES...WHICH MADE FOR MUCH
WARMER THAN NORMAL OR IN SOME CASES NEAR RECORD AVERAGE MONTHLY
TEMPERATURES. AS JULY STARTED...DROUGHT CONDITIONS WERE DEVELOPING
IN SOUTHERN AND EASTERN ARKANSAS. HIGH PRESSURE BUILT OVER THE STATE
FOR MUCH OF THE MONTH...AND THE DROUGHT CONTINUED. WHILE TROPICAL
MOISTURE FLOWED INTO THE REGION AT TIMES...THE RAIN THAT RESULTED
WAS MAINLY ACROSS THE NORTHERN COUNTIES. IT WAS VERY HOT AT TIMES...
ESPECIALLY AS JULY ENDED. READINGS TOPPED OUT IN THE MID-90S TO
AROUND 100 DEGREES. THE HEAT CRANKED UP EVEN MORE HEADING INTO EARLY
AUGUST. IT WAS A VERY HOT AND DRY AUGUST IN MUCH OF ARKANSAS. HIGH
PRESSURE REMAINED THE DOMINANT WEATHER FEATURE...WITH MANY
TEMPERATURE RECORDS SET AND LESS THAN A HALF INCH OF RAIN IN SOME
AREAS. DROUGHT CONDITIONS IN THE SOUTHERN AND EASTERN COUNTIES BEGAN
SPREADING NORTHWARD. WHEN RAIN DID OCCUR...IT WAS MAINLY DURING THE
FIRST HALF OF THE MONTH AND CONCENTRATED OVER SOUTHERN SECTIONS OF
THE STATE.

NUMEROUS HIGH TEMPERATURE RECORDS WERE TIED OR BROKEN ON THE 2ND AND
3RD. AT LITTLE ROCK /PULASKI COUNTY/ THE MERCURY REACHED 107
DEGREES ON THE 3RD...THE HOTTEST READING SINCE AUGUST 30TH 2000. BY
THE TIME THE MONTH WAS OVER THERE WERE SEVERAL LONG STANDING
TEMPERATURE RECORDS BROKEN AT LITTLE ROCK. FROM JUNE 30TH TO AUGUST
28TH...THERE WERE 60 CONSECUTIVE 90 DEGREE DAYS...A RECORD. THIS
SURPASSED A 57 DAY STREAK IN 1980. THE AVERAGE SUMMER TEMPERATURE
/JUNE THROUGH AUGUST/ WAS 85.8 DEGREES. THIS WAS WELL ABOVE THE 85.4
DEGREE READING SET IN 1954. WHILE HOT DAYTIME TEMPERATURES
CONTRIBUTED TO THE LATTER RECORD...NIGHTTIME READINGS REALLY MADE
THIS RECORD POSSIBLE. READINGS AT OR ABOVE 70 DEGREES OCCURRED ON 77
STRAIGHT MORNINGS /JUNE 8TH TO AUGUST 23RD/ WHICH IS A FIRST. IT WAS
CLOSE IN 1938...WITH A 75 DAY STRING OF 70 DEGREE LOWS /JULY 1ST
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 13TH/. NIGHTTIME READINGS WERE WARM ELSEWHERE AS
WELL. SEASONAL LOWS WERE THE SECOND WARMEST EVER AT PINE BLUFF
/JEFFERSON COUNTY/. AT HARRISON /BOONE COUNTY/ THE AVERAGE LOW WAS
THE WARMEST SINCE 1980...AND THE SECOND WARMEST ON RECORD. IN AUGUST
ALONE...LOWS WERE ABOVE 75 DEGREES ON 9 MORNINGS. THIS WAS THE MOST
IN TEN YEARS.

OCTOBER 6-14 2010
A SERIES OF WILDFIRES CAUSED BY EXCESSIVELY DRY CONDITIONS OCCURRED
AT CAMP ROBINSON IN NORTH LITTLE ROCK. THIS KEPT AREAS OF SMOKE AND
HAZE OVER THE LITTLE ROCK METROPOLITAN AREA FOR OVER A WEEK.

SUMMER 2011
FOR THE SECOND SUMMER IN A ROW...ARKANSAS EXPERIENCED A PROLONGED
PERIOD OF HOT...DRY WEATHER WHICH WENT DOWN AT MOST LOCATIONS AS ONE
OF THE WARMEST AND DRIEST SUMMERS ON RECORD. HIGH PRESSURE BUILT
OVER THE STATE IN EARLY JUNE...AND WAS THE DOMINANT WEATHER FEATURE
THROUGH MOST OF JUNE...JULY...AND INTO THE FIRST WEEK OF AUGUST.
RECORD HEAT WAS NOTED IN MUCH OF THE STATE...WITH THE SOUTH AND WEST
PARTICULARLY HARD-HIT. RECORD DRY CONDITIONS WERE NOTED IN THE
SOUTHWEST.

THE REGION EXPERIENCED ONE OF THE TOP 5 HOTTEST SUMMERS ON RECORD...
AND ONE OF THE TOP 5 DRIEST IN SOME SPOTS. THE HEAT WAS ESPECIALLY
INTENSE OVER THE WESTERN COUNTIES. TEMPERATURES REACHED THE CENTURY
MARK 50 TIMES AT TEXARKANA /MILLER COUNTY/ AND DEQUEEN /SEVIER
COUNTY/ AND 48 TIMES AT FORT SMITH /SEBASTIAN COUNTY/.

IN EARLY AUGUST THE HEAT GOT DANGEROUS. ON THE 3RD...HIGH
TEMPERATURES ACROSS THE REGION WERE MOSTLY BETWEEN 105 AND 115
DEGREES. THERE WAS AN ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH OF 114 DEGREES AT LITTLE
ROCK AND 115 DEGREES AT FORT SMITH. AFTERNOON HEAT INDEX VALUES
TOPPED 120 DEGREES IN EASTERN SECTIONS OF THE STATE. BY AUGUST
10TH...THE HEAT WAVE HAD LARGELY BROKEN.

$$

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